About Karori West Normal School
Helen, tell us a little bit about your school and what makes it unique or special
We have a very diverse cultural and socio-economic mix of kids and families with a strong sense of whānau — family and community. This is reflected in our Virtues programme where every fortnight our teachers explore different virtues in their classrooms. Family is really important and it feels like I’m a part of that family.
What about your library?
Our library is viewed as the heart of the school with our Deputy Principal referring to it as ‘the jewel in the crown’. We named our library Te Awa o Tupu, which acknowledges the stream running beneath the library and symbolises the journey of learning.
Our library is a fabulous space. It’s very well used and an important space within the school; all the classes visit the library every week.
We’re lucky to have a large flexible space; it’s really busy and dynamic at lunchtimes with lots of games like Lego and Duplo, computers, a coding club, and there’s lots of reading and drawing.
How do you use the National Library service to schools?
I use the website — there’s a wealth of information on there, and I call the 0800 Lib Line.
I value the collaborative meetings the facilitators organise. Being a librarian, you can be quite isolated as there is often just one in a school. Networking with peers and sharing information is very valuable and the training opportunities through National Library are also very good.
Our school is also a huge user of the National Library books.
How did you manage the new lending process?
When the new changes first came in I talked to the staff about the changes and discussed a process. I registered as a coordinator and designed a form that teams completed. Then I determined the gaps in our collection and ordered accordingly. My form mirrored the online request form so it was easy for me to transfer the information across into the online form.
How did you manage the inquiry loan?
I asked the teachers how they wanted to use the inquiry loans; they all decided they wanted the books in their classrooms. So I catalogued the books, scanning the National Library barcode into our Access-It library software programme, and then issued them out to the classrooms.
Now it’s the end of term they have all just come back to me in their boxes. I’m scanning the returned books and will be sending them off back to National Library.
What about the reading engagement loan?
I pretty much did the same as with the inquiry loan. I went to the staff and explained how this was a different type of loan and asked if they wanted to give it a go, which they did.
Overall impression of the new National Library service for schools
I was impressed by the variety of books that came through. It gave me a chance to see a whole range of books I hadn’t seen before. A lot of those resources you just don’t find in bookshops.
There were some things that really stood out for me — if I saw a new book I could decide, “we need to have that book in our library”. For example, we had no graphic books suitable for young readers, but now thanks to National Library I’ve seen a whole range and they’re on our wish list.
I also saw real benefits particularly for Year 7 and 8 students who tend to get really sophisticated in their inquiry. We might not want to buy a one-off research or inquiry topic book because it might be expensive and might not be used again for a couple of years. Borrowing from National Library is a good way of getting these fabulous nonfiction books into the school for these students.
Anything else you’d like to add?
In the past, the National Library books came into individual teachers in the school and often just stayed in that class and I hardly ever saw them. Now the teachers are sharing them around and I have the opportunity to look at the books and identify if we should be looking at purchasing them for our own collection.
The process has also opened up even more communication between me and the teaching staff, which is great. We’ve talked about how this new system is a learning process for everyone, we will tweak our processes as we go and that feedback is important so we can make the most of this service and the resources.